While Town Hall summer concerts, the usual Morses Pond beach experience, and other Wellesley summer staples are out in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, town officials have been thinking creatively to make sure there will still be outdoor fun to be had. How’s this for a start? At least 10 free drive-in movies will be scheduled beginning in early July for showing at the Tailby Lot (Wellesley Square commuter rail parking lot).
The drive-in movie theater comes to Wellesley thanks to $30,000 from the Kiwanis Club and $14,500 from the Community Fund for Wellesley COVID-19 Relief Fund, plus the work of a handful of town departments (Recreation, Youth Commission, MLP, Police Department, Board of Health, Wellesley Free Library, etc.) over the past month or so.
What’s more, the mobile movie operation, featuring a 40-foot-high screen, will give at least some number of the young people whose Recreation Department summer jobs looked to be fizzling out an opportunity to work. They’ll be available for setting up and breaking down the drive-in, for example.
More details to come, such as which movies will be shown. Thinking they might need to go with something like “Murder on the Orient Express” given the train parking lot location. Or pick from among those movies, like “Knives out,” that have been filmed in town.
Drive-in movies have become the rage of late, with some, such as in Mendon, selling out despite the fact that there isn’t much in the way of new movie releases these days.
Attendees will need to preregister to view the movies and everyone will need to stay in their vehicles. No bathrooms will be provided.
(Youth Commission director Maura Renzella says she and Recreation Director Matt Chin have been monitoring the parking lot at night and have seen that few cars are using it in light of people working from home during the pandemic. For those that do need to use it during the summer, signage will alert them that they might be arriving back at the lot in the middle of a movie. The Wellesley Farms lot would be a back-up location if needed.)
This program flew through the Board of Selectmen approval process, with Chair Marjorie Freiman noting for some kids in town this will be their first experience at a drive-in. “They don’t know what they’re missing…popcorn in your car? What could be better?”